For NFP Awareness Week #5 post, I am sharing this video from the Phoenix Diocese. It has some great quotes and testimonials. I like that it points out at the very beginning that the Pill is classified as a Class A carcinogen. It mentions 1 Corinthians 7: 15 as a great reason for why abstinence during the fertile time is OK. I’m not Catholic, but I appreciate the Catholic teachings of NFP. It just makes sense to me. If you want to learn more about NFP, please click on the NFP tab above or click on “the booK’ tab above. That’s the book I wrote about natural mothering. Then go to Chapter 6 of my book to read about NFP.
Here are more great quotes about NFP from the video:
“It allows you to appreciate the complexities of your wife.”
“NFP is freedom for marriages.”
“You are either going to put your faith in something from that some pharmaceutical company says is going to get you what you want or you are going to put your faith in your biology that God designed and intended.”
“Abstinence has turned him into a romantic man.”
Here is the part 3 excerpt from Chapter 6 of my book;
More on the Harmful Effects of Artificial Contraception
The people at One More Soul say that contraception, both the Pill and other artificial forms, treats children like a disease, instead of an asset to a family and society. As One More Soul says on its Web site:
Contraceptives degrade women. From the day in junior high when a woman menstruates for the first time, a woman’s fertility is a huge part of her life. If her constantly changing hormones were not enough, for five to ten days every month she gets powerfully reminded again and again that this body of hers was designed to conceive and bear children. When a woman uses contraceptives, she and her partner are actively rejecting this essential fact about herself. Her ability to become pregnant, one of the greatest blessings of her life, becomes unacceptable and a burden. Because most contraceptives are designed to be used by women, when they fail, and a pregnancy occurs, it is “her fault.” She is expected to “deal with” her mistake, usually by having an abortion. The father of the child, although he is as responsible for this child as the mother, feels free to abandon both of them. After all, since the contraception wasn’t his responsibility, why should he be responsible for the result of the contraceptive failure?
So that’s why I believe in NFP. I believe that it is the natural law for enjoying sexual relations, as it involves the Biblical principle of living by the seasons. It brings forth happiness in marriage, instead of the bitter fruits of contraception. As it says in Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, there is a time to embrace, which could be interpreted as having sex, and a time to refrain from embracing, which could mean abstinence. Of course I am not saying that if you use artificial contraception your marriage is doomed. I am saying that you are statistically more likely to get divorced if you use artificial contraception, and statistically more likely to have a fabulous marriage if you use NFP.
The Health Benefits of Using Ecological Breastfeeding and NFP
When a couple decides it’s time to nurture new life and a baby comes, then the mother has the opportunity to follow another set of natural laws that follow the Biblical principle of living by the seasons, the standards of ecological breastfeeding. If the mother nurtures her baby according to the seven laws of ecological breastfeeding, she will not run faster than she has strength. She is much less likely to have her babies too close together. She will also benefit from not putting synthetic chemicals into her body. There are definite health benefits from ecological breastfeeding. Your body gets a break from the monthly surge of estrogen, and that lowers your risk for breast and uterine cancers. (Do a Google search and you will find lots of evidence for this. Both synthetic and natural estrogen are suspected as causes for these cancers.)
Just think about it. A mother who has many children, and nurses each baby ecologically (exclusively for at least six months, and then probably for at least six months more after solids have been introduced), has much fewer menstrual cycles than a woman who has one or two children, does token breastfeeding for less than six months (so it is not enough to delay menstruation), and takes the Pill for decades. That is the norm for American women today. But before breast cancer rates went up, that’s not the way life was for women. I suspect that the increase in breast cancer rates in our society are due to the fact that women have departed from the traditional, healthy way of life for married women (having many children and breastfeeding them ecologically) and on top of that, have put synthetic forms of hormones into their bodies in the form of birth control pills.
The Harmful Physical Effects of Not Honoring the Seasons of Fertility—The Shady Side to the Pill
Using NFP is not just good for moral and marriage-building reasons, as listed above, but it has health benefits as well. By contrast, not only does the Pill hurt the relations between men and women, but, it, out of all the forms of artificial contraception, specifically hurts women’s bodies. These problems include increasing the risk of blood clots, migraine headaches, heart attacks, and menstrual problems, according to One More Soul (OMS). I call natural family planning organic birth control. Going organic is popular among health nut people. Let’s apply it to birth control tooཀ Let’s quit taking pills full of synthetic chemicals that pollute our bodies, our water supply and our soil. Let’s quit taking pills that are abortifacients as well. Did you know that the Pill can cause the uterus to be a hostile environment, so that if an egg is fertilized and implants in the uterus, the uterus’ lining will not keep it alive?9 We have been commanded not to kill or “do anything like unto it,” in Doctrine and Covenants 59:6. That commandment extends to our choice of birth control methods.
You can confirm the physical problems related to taking the Pill by reading the package insert detailing the possible side effects, which accompanies a monthly set of Pills. OMS also points out that it is no coincidence that a rise in breast cancer started ten to fifteen years after the Pill became more widespread. This is probably because the Pill (the combination pill, not the minipill) contains synthetic estrogen and it has been well-documented that synthetic estrogen is a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substance. OMS also claims that the Pill has caused an increase in infertility. Some women spend years taking the Pill and then when they find themselves finally ready to have a baby, the find themselves infertile. OMS questions the ethics of the doctors who are taking fees for preventing fertility and then turning around and charging fees for treating infertility.11
Did you know that the Pill was allowed to be released to the public for use before it was adequately shown to be safe? According to Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, M.D., the birth control pill was approved for release to the public after research was done that was funded by birth control advocate Margaret Sanger and the drug manufacturer G.D. Searle. Talk about vested interests!ཀ Mendelsohn states the following disturbing information:
FDA approval of the Pill was based on careless, inadequate studies that established its effectiveness but offered no valid scientific proof that it was safe for human use. One of the studies involved 132 Puerto Rican women who took the Pill for a year or more. Five of them died during the study, and no effort was even made to find out whyཀ (Emphasis in the original.) On the basis of that kind of scientific evidence the FDA approved a drug that ultimately would endanger 50 million women all over the world.11
Apparently, these kinds of deaths in a drug trial are called “sudden unexplained deaths.” Surprisingly this is a commonly reported statistic in the literature of drug trial testing, even drugs that get FDA approval. I must say, it makes me leery of taking any FDA-approved drug!ཀ Dr. Mendelsohn goes on to say that the birth control pill makes a woman’s body sick. He says some symptoms show up right away, and some are not outwardly noticeable, but all women who take it are exposed to a potentially fatal risk.12
How come this knowledge of the dangers of the Pill is not more widespread? We have grown up in a society that just automatically accepts the wonders of drugs. In the American culture, many people implicitly trust doctors to tell us everything we need to know about the drugs they prescribe. But does a doctor take the time to sit down with you and go over the package insert for every drug he prescribes? No. I don’t blame them entirely; they simply don’t have the time, and are usually overworked and behind schedule. I feel it is fair that we should do our own homework about a drug and ask them questions. But I do think they should point out that there are risks to drugs, even the seemingly wondrously convenient birth control pill, and remind us to read the package inserts.
Even many people in the LDS culture think that this little pill that you can take every day so that you can have sex whenever you want as a newlywed couple is a miracle of miracles. I too was sucked into this thinking when I was a new bride. I didn’t know about the negative side to the Pill. My LDS doctor, a member of his LDS stake high council, certainly didn’t take the time to tell me the side effects. I even wrote a paper about the Pill for an endocrinology class at BYU, all about how it miraculously works, with no mention of its shady history or downside, because I didn’t know.. (I got an “A” on the paper, by the way, but how I wish now that I had stumbled upon the negative aspects like I did years later.)
Back to the Sweet Fruits of Honoring the Seasons of Fertility: NFP
NFP builds a marriage, as I mentioned earlier. You can read some terrific articles that exemplify this at the Couple to Couple League Web site. Go to ccli.org and click on “About NFP” and then click on “Marriage Building” and read the two articles listed at the bottom. Professor Janet Smith also gave an amazing talk on the subject. She is a Catholic professor of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. She gave a talk entitled “Contraception: Why Not?” at a Catholic Physicians Guild Meeting. In this talk Professor Smith, according to the One More Soul website:
provokes her audience to give serious consideration to questions regarding the relationship between contraception, divorce, abortion, poverty, and other social ills. She presents compelling evidence that couples who accept children as a gift from God and who use natural family planning if needed, have happier marriages with dramatically lower divorce rates than the general population. The message in ‘Contraception: Why Not?’ has captivated audiences on national and international levels.
You can read the transcript of the talk yourself (see the URL in footnote #14 below) or get a free audio copy on CD at the omsoul.com Web site.13 This should be required reading or listening for every engaged, newlywed, or even longtime married couple. Smith says that sex is for babies and bonding and that contraception takes God out of sex. This is how she explains natural family planning:
(I)t doesn’t say no to God. You see, it respects a woman’s fertility, has no bad social consequences (in fact, wonderful ones-there’s almost a non-existent divorce rate among couples using Natural Family Planning). It doesn’t say no to God because God has said, “I want to be there at the fertile time. I made the fertile time for bringing forth new human life. If you engage in this act, I want my option of making new human life. But I gave you a half of a month, three quarters of a month, where you’re infertile, and if you want to pursue the bonding power of the sexual act without babies, do it then. I’m asleep. I’m out of town. I don’t expect to be invited at that time. I’m not around. You can’t even do it. I won’t come. I can’t. I made your body in a certain way.” There’s no saying no to God. There’s respecting the fertility as if it’s kind of sacred ground. You don’t walk there unless you’re prepared for the consequences.14
Smith claims that natural family planning is not contraception because it supports life and God. She also says that natural family planning enhances communication in marriage because every month at the woman’s fertile time the couple get to talk about if they are ready to have a baby. In her talk she also makes the interesting point that when testing was done on a male birth control device, it shrank the testicles, so the testing was immediately called off. This contrasts to the story we heard above from Dr. Mendelsohn about five women dying during testing of the Pill. (Where is the feminist outcry over this incredible injustice to these women? Where is the feminist outcry over the other harmful-to-women birth control methods, such as the Dalkon shield and DES?)
Smith is such a believer in natural family planning that in her talk she gives the $1000 offer. She says she will give $1000 to anyone who gets a divorce after doing the following: abstain from sex at least a year before marriage, get married in a church and keep going to church, use natural family planning, and pay tithing. She says, “If you get God, sex, and money in the right place, everything else is easy.”ཁ5 Natural family planning helps you do those things.
So Why Does our Local LDS OB-GYN Hand Out the Pill Like It’s Candy?
By now you may be saying, “Well, our church, the LDS Church, has not taken a stand about the birth control pill like the Catholic Church. In fact, I know that my stake president is an OB-GYN and he prescribes them all the time to new LDS brides.” It is true that our church hasn’t taken a stand saying, “Thou shalt not take the birth control pill.” If you read the official statement of the Church regarding birth control from the General Handbook of Instructions, it says this:
Husbands must be considerate of their wives, who have a great responsibility not only for bearing children but also for caring for them through childhood. . . Married couples should seek inspiration from the Lord in meeting their marital challenges and rearing their children according to the teachings of the gospel.16
I daresay that the reason LDS doctors don’t know more about the side effects of the Pill is simply because they simply haven’t taken the time to educate themselves. The big money interests that promote artificial birth control also get in the way of this, as I describe in a few paragraphs. One courageous LDS doctor, Joseph Stanford M.D., in family practice, has taken a stand and refuses to prescribe the Pill. Google his name and you will find an interesting article by him called, “Sex, Naturally.” It is popular among some Catholic Natural Family Planners. Sheila Kippley, founder of the Couple to Couple to League and Natural Family Planning International, sent me an email encouraging me to read his article, not knowing that I had already stumbled upon it..